How We Help

Express works with you to help you find that next career. We offer access to our extensive client network, third-party salary negotiation, complete confidentiality, one-on-one consultations, résumé review and assistance, as well as interview enhancement tips.

Learn more. 

Entries in job tips (3)

Friday
Mar132015

10 Mistakes That Are Standing Between You and Your Dream Job

The process of job hunting is tough. It’s not only hard on your wallet, it’s hard on your self-esteem. When you’ve sent out dozens of resumes and landed multiple interviews, all without success, it’s hard not to get discouraged.

At this point, you may start to rationalize your lack of employment by blaming outside influences:

“It’s a tough market right now.”

“There aren’t currently many opportunities in my field.”

“There’s too much competition for too few jobs.”

But the truth is, there are people getting hired in your field. Even if the market istough right now, it’s very likely there’s something you’re doing—or not doing—to lessen your chances of getting hired.

Here are 10 reasons why you may not be getting the job.

1. You’re Not Being Proactive

Are you sitting around waiting for the perfect job to fall into your lap? Successful job seekers know they need to be proactively pursuing jobs and leads and actively strategizing their job search.

Do you have the necessary skills for your dream job? If not, take an online course to upgrade your skill set. Are you well connected in your field? If the answer is no, attend industry networking groups or events.

Research shows a correlation between having a proactive personality and career success. Researchers have found that this proactivity—the belief that you have the power to change your circumstances—is positively associated with achieving salary and promotion objectives as well as increased career satisfaction.

In other words, if you believe you have the power and ability to achieve your career goals, you’re far more likely to succeed. If you believe the world is conspiring against you and you’re powerless to do anything about it, you’re more likely to stay right where you are now—jobless.

2. Your Lack of Passion Shows

If you find yourself applying for positions that don’t excite you, don’t be surprised if potential employers sense this lack of passion. Employers know that skills can always be taught, but that passion is either there or it’s not.

If you’re truly excited about a job, be sure to convey this in your cover letter and interview. Explain your reasons for wanting the position, and share ideas you’ll be excited to explore should you get the job.

3. You Don’t Sell Yourself

If there’s ever a time to sell yourself, it’s when you’re job hunting. If you don’t clearly convey your skills, knowledge, and education, it’s no one’s fault but your own if you don’t get the job.

There’s a fine line between being cocky and confident, so make sure you’re always tempering your confidence with humility. Sharing past accomplishments conveys pride in your work, while going on and on about how educated you are screams “smug.”

4. Your Resume or CV Doesn’t Showcase Your Value to the Company

Your resume is what’s going to get your foot in the door. If it isn’t accurately showcasing your suitability for the job, you’ll never get the chance to impress in an interview. Some best practices for creating a killer resume include:

  • Keep it short (some experts recommend only 600-700 words)
  • List all relevant skills and work history
  • Tweak your resume for each position you apply for
  • Detail how you can bring value to the company
  • Be specific: If you’ve achieved certain goals in past jobs, don’t be afraid to quantify your accomplishments (e.g., raised $2 million in funding in one year).

5. You Haven’t Researched the Job or Company

Employers want to know you took the time to learn a bit about the company. Not knowing the name of the CEO or where head office is could convey that you’re disinterested or even lazy. Take some time before the interview to research the company online. Employers don’t expect you to know all the company’s inner workings, but you should have a good grasp of publically available information.

6. You Conveyed a Sense of Entitlement at the Interview

It’s never a good idea to go into an interview with a list of demands. Having a general salary expectation is expected, but requiring six weeks of vacation from the get-go? This can be a huge red flag for employers. After all, if you’re this demanding in the interview, how much more demanding will you be once you have the job?

7. You’re Overqualified or Underqualified

This is perhaps one of the biggest issues for chronic job seekers. Are you consistently applying for your dream job even though your experience and education don’t really make you a dream candidate? Or maybe you’re desperate for a job (any job!) and are willing to take something (anything!), even jobs well below your pay grade? Ask yourself honestly whether you’re aiming too high—or too low—and adjust your expectations accordingly.

8. You’re Not Connected in Your Industry

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This has never been truer, especially in today’s competitive job market. According to research compiled by Interview Success Formula, while there were 3.6 million job openings in the U.S. in 2012, 80% of these were never advertised. This indicates that employers were likely looking internally and among their current sphere of connections to find suitable candidates.

If you aren’t already, make sure you’re putting yourself out there by regularly attending conferences, networking groups, and industry events. You never know whom you’ll meet!

9. You’re Just Not That Likable

You can be the most qualified person for the job, but if your interviewer just plain doesn’t like you, you don’t stand a chance. Some tips for making the best first impression possible include:

  • Smiling often (when appropriate)
  • Being a great listener (don’t interrupt!)
  • Asking thoughtful questions
  • Not bragging or being overly confident
  • Being talkative and expressive without dominating the conversation
  • Using open body language

In the book Screw the Zoo, author Sam McRoberts outlines several chapters of insightful hacks that delve into the psychology of body language, eye contact, posture, smiling, and confidence.

10. You’re Sending the Wrong Impression

Your interview is your one chance to impress a potential employer. Are you doing any of the following, which could send the wrong impression?

  • Arriving too early or too late
  • Dressing inappropriately (better to err on the side of being too dressy)
  • Joking around too much or being sarcastic (there’s a time for sarcasm, but that time isn’t during an interview!)
  • Asking about the salary too soon in the interview (leave this until last)
  • Not showing any personality
  • Appearing bored or disinterested during the interview

If you’ve been job hunting for a while, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself what you could be doing wrong. If you’re brave enough, email a past interviewer and ask why you didn’t get the job—while knowing the truth can be hard, it may help you in the long run.

Source: Jayson Demers of Inc. (https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-mistakes-that-are-standing-between-you-and-your-dream-job)

Thursday
Sep042014

3 STEPS TO DETOXING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH

detox_socialmedia_webIn June, CareerBuilder released findings on the number of employers turning to social networking sites to research candidates. The 2014 survey, conducted by Harris Poll, found that 51% of employees who research job candidates online said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up 8% from the previous year and 17% from 2012. Only 12% of employers surveyed said they don’t currently research candidates on social media, but they also reported that they plan to start in the near future.

If you think your online presence could be poisoning your job chances, it’s probably time to detox your social networks and rid your accounts of content that could keep you from getting a job.

Step 1: Get Rid of the Harmful Stuff Fast

When it comes to detoxing your social media, the first thing to do is to remove anything harmful from your accounts. The CareerBuilder survey reported that some of the most common reasons employers gave for passing on a candidate included:

  • 46% for provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • 41% for information posted about the candidate drinking or using drugs
  • 36% for bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee
  • 32% for poor communication skills
  • 28% for discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.
  • 22% for lying about qualifications

As you start to detox your social accounts, think about what employers are and are not looking for in a candidate. Take a look at your history online and search for anything that could be considered unprofessional or could be misconstrued. If it hurts your chances of getting hired, ask yourself if it’s worth keeping. Then, start deleting. Edit errors. Remove inappropriate posts you’re tagged in. Change your profile photo if it doesn’t reflect the professional image you’d like to portray.  Really take some time to investigate your accounts. It may not be enough to switch out your Facebook profile photo for example. You may also need to delete some of the old profile photos entirely from your account to keep people from looking at your profile history. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to let go of the past for a brighter future.

Step 2: Setup Boundaries and Check Privacy Settings

Once you’ve deleted the things that could be harmful to your job search from your social accounts, take a look at your privacy settings. If you don’t want potential employers looking at your Facebook page for example, make sure only your friends can see the information you share on your profile. If you’re going to leave your Facebook profile open, turn on your Timeline review so you can approve posts you are tagged in before they appear on your page. If you don’t approve a post that you’re tagged in, remember that you may still need to go remove the tag from your friends post. Facebook and other networks are constantly updating their privacy settings, so it’s important to stay up to date on your settings to know who can see your accounts.

Now that you’ve checked your privacy settings and cleaned up your accounts, take some time to think about what you will and will not post in the future. Give yourself some boundaries or create some rules of thumb to follow to keep your social media free of job killing toxins. Tell yourself you will proof read every status update before you post it and try reading your updates out loud before you share them. This will help you catch any grammatical errors and give you time to stop and think about whether or not you should even post it.

Step 3: Replace the Bad Stuff with the Good Stuff

Your social media presence doesn’t have to be toxic to your job search. In fact, it can actually help you get an interview or even a job! While the CareerBuilder survey found that 51% of employers didn’t hire an applicant because of something they saw on social media, 33% of employers also said they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate as well. And, 23% said they found information that directly led to hiring the candidate!

Some of the most common reasons employers gave for hiring a candidate based on their social networking presence included:

  • 46% of employers felt the applicant was a good fit with their company culture
  • 45% said the candidate’s background information supported their qualifications
  • 43% said their online presence conveyed a professional image
  • 40% said the applicant was well-rounded and showed a wide range of interests

If you want to make the most out of your social media networks to help you land a job, then replace any harmful information with beneficial information that could actually help give your career a boost. A great place to start is with your LinkedIn account since it’s already geared toward helping you make professional connections online. Take time to fill out as much information as you can. Provide links to your work. If you volunteered for something in your community, post about it on all of your accounts. Share industry related information to help show that you’re an expert in your field. Detoxing your social media isn’t just about getting rid of what’s bad. It’s about sharing the good things. Find ways to demonstrate your skills and abilities as well as your personality and your strengths, and you’ll be well on your way to having a robust and healthy image online that could help you stand out from other applicants.

How do you ensure your social presence is free of job-killing toxins? Share about it in our comment’s section below!

Thursday
Sep042014

DO THIS DURING YOUR JOB INTERVIEW AND YOU WON’T GET CALLED BACK

interview_mistakes_webThe number of articles and blogs online about the mistakes people make during an interview would lead you to believe that interviewees would have learned from other’s hard lessons. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. A recent survey of 115hiring experts about the worst interview mistakes people make reveals that interviewees are guilty of committing some very avoidable errors during their time in front of a potential employer.

Here are the three worst mistakes respondents said they saw job seekers make during their interview and how you can avoid making them.

1. Lie About Your Experience 

Want to start your relationship off terribly with someone who could determine if you get hired or not? Lie about your work experience or education.

Even the slightest fib or stretching of the truth could do irrevocable harm to your potential to get hired. If an employer finds out after you’ve been hired that you lied about your abilities or knowledge of a key part of your new job, you can expect that you won’t be there long. And if they do research about you before you’re hired and find out you’ve been dishonest, don’t expect to get a call back anytime soon.

“In this era of massive information availability, anything you say about your experience, your past performance, or your education that isn’t accurate can most likely be checked,” said Erika Anderson, a contributor for Forbes Magazine. “It’s much better to be upfront about anything that’s less than stellar, and offer a simple (non-defensive) explanation.”

2. Show Up Late

Things happen. Tires go flat, kids get sick, and bad weather can set anyone back. But when you know you have a job interview coming up, preparing for any situation is the key to showing up on time.

Take the appropriate steps to make sure that on the day of your job interview, nothing but a serious emergency could cause you to show up late or miss the chance to show an employer why you’re the best person for the job. Put gas in your car and check your tires the day before, set your alarm to give yourself plenty of time to get ready, and do a final review of any research you’ve done. And if you’re unfamiliar with the location of the interview, drive there from your home in the days before so you know how to get there, preferably around the time of your interview so you can account for traffic.

If something completely unforeseen does come up and you know you’ll be late, call ahead to the employer and let them know about the situation. Be prepared with another time when you call so that if they ask to re-schedule, you know of a few times you’re available.

3. Answer Your Phone (Call or Text)

This is pretty simple. Unless there is an emergency situation in which you are waiting on a phone call (in which case you should probably ask to re-schedule the interview), you shouldn’t even have your cell phone turned on when you walk in the building.

We know how tempting it is to check your phone while you wait to meet your interviewer, but it’s not worth it. Employers want to know you’re focused on the task at hand and will be if they decide to hire you. Don’t give them any reason to think you’re anything other than excited, determined, and completely focused on what you can bring to their team.

Everyone understands that mistakes can happen during an interview, but there are some that are worse than others, and several that are avoidable. What have you done to avoid these interview mistakes? Let us know in the comments section below.